So while I’m on a healthy living kick, I figured it was a good time to share some of the things that have been inspiring said healthy living kick. I mean in addition to the fact that I can’t fit into a fair number of clothes that I could fit into mere months ago (!).
First, there’s been a lot of reports lately about research showing that sitting all day is going to kill you. Now, I have an office job and, depending on what phase I’m at for different projects1, I can find myself spending 7.5 hours sitting at my desk, day after day. And when you combine that with hours upon hours of sitting doing homework when I get home, it really is a miracle that I’m still alive. It sort of makes sense – we didn’t evolve to sit for prolonged periods of time – and I can tell you that my massage therapist can tell when I’ve had a week of lots of sitting as opposed to a week when I’ve been on the go. My muscles are full of nasty knots and various sorts of ugly tightness when I’ve been sitting – much worse than when I go in for massage due to my running- or hockey-related muscle tightness.
Given that ever doing exercise2 does not make up for the damaging effects of prolonged sitting on one’s health, I’ve been looking for simple ways to break up my sitting. I still do my teleconference yoga whenever I have a teleconference or webinar, but since I don’t have those with any regularity, I’ve tried to find other little ways to break up the sitting – apparently moving at least once per hour is what’s needed. Getting up to make tea, walking to the far bathroom instead of the closer one3, and even just stand-up-and-stretch breaks4. I do find, however, that I can get lost in my work sometimes and a few hours will go by where I don’t move anything except my typing fingers. Starting tomorrow, I’m setting an alarm so I’ll get up and stretch every hour!
One thing I’ve never been good about, even when I’m at my most active, is weight training. I’ll run, I’ll bike, I’ll swim, I’ll play hockey, but I’ve never really been into lifting weights5. But the thing is – lifting weights is good for you. Here’s a video with a prof from my favourite of my alma maters talking about it:
Simple Advice for Better Weight Training (sorry, this video won’t let me embed it, so you have to click the link)
The exercise room in my building has a few weights, so I’m thinking perhaps I should actually use them!
Just 23.5 Hours Per Day
But the thing that’s most inspired me lately is this video, which I saw awhile ago, then promptly forgot about, but then my sister just reminded me of it the other day, after Dr. Dan posted it on Facebook:
Can you limit your sitting and sleeping to a mere 23.5 hrs per day? When you put it like that, it really seems ridiculous to say “I don’t have time for exercise!”
And one bonus tip!
Being healthy isn’t just about physical activity, of course. Nutrition plays into as well. I’ve long been a fan of the book Intuitive Eating, which essentially brings the concept of mindfulness to eating. When I get really busy, though, I often forget and I scarf down my lunch at my computer – or sometimes even just while engaged in a good conversation – without even noticing. So I’m now trying out a tip I read recently: eating with my left hand. But doing this, which isn’t my usual pattern, it forces me to be more mindful of what I’m doing, rather than just eating automatically, just out of sheer habit. I just started this, so I’ll let you know how it goes!
- For example, if I’m in a data analysis or writing phase (e.g., writing plans, writing reports, writing emails, etc.) vs. if I’m in data collection phase (e.g., going off to various locations to do site visits, run focus groups, conduct interviews, have meetings). [↩]
- Such as going for a run/bike ride, going to the gym, playing hockey, etc. [↩]
- And given my continuous consumption of coffee and tea, my trips to the bathroom are frequent! [↩]
- Conveniently for me, my officemate is equally terrified of death-by-sitting, and will join me in said stretch breaks. [↩]
- Though I do have my pushups thing going on during homework times – so that’s something. [↩]